Friday, October 22, 2010

Fighting Distraction

There are so many distractions in life--books, tv, and other hobbies. Mix in family and friends and sometimes it's hard to get anything done and by anything, I mean writing. Times are about to get worse, with the holiday season approaching upon us faster than I can type this. Before we know it, it will be Halloween, Thanksgiving (for our US readers) and then the December holidays (whatever you may celebrate). Not only is it hard to get everything done, it's even harder to make sure you sit down and concentrate on your story. I know for me, when I'm in the zone on one of my books, my mind tends to constantly think about it, working out issues that I'm having or just living in the world I created. During the holidays it's different, I'm thinking about turkeys, vacation, presents and hot chocolate (okay, maybe a buttered rum or two as well. I'm not going to lie). Add in NaNoWrimo, and you've got a mess on your hands.

As I've mentioned here before, I got into crochet about a year ago. It helps me relax, concentrate on something theraputic and fun. I love it because I can take it anywhere, I've met amazing people and it gives me something to do when my husband wants to watch really terrible movies. I even started a crochet blog, Tami's Amis and Other Crochet. It started as a hobby, but now it has crept into my thinking of writing time and even my actual writing time. I hope that NaNo helps me set my priorities back to where they should be. I'm not saying that it has taken over my time writing, but it has slowly moved into that space. It will be a huge test for me come November. I will be working on a new book for NaNoWrimo (I have two stories brewing and I'm not sure which I'd like to write yet), the holidays and on top of all that, I've decided to make many of my gifts this year. I'm excited about that, but to be honest, it's a lot easier to go out to the mall and purchase something. I hope to accomplish so much during November, more than just writing a first draft of a new YA novel.

What do you hope to accomplish with NaNoWrimo, other than 50,000 words?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NANO Attack!

With NANO a few weeks away, participants like Tami and I are busy jotting plot notes, character traits, researching settings or time periods and seeing inspiration shining around every corner of life. I call it the hunter / gatherer stage, we're like bears getting ready to den for the winter - gorging ourselves for the ordeal ahead. Prepping for the inevitable dry spell (which should strike at about Day 19, just beyond the half way mark) when NANO seems like a freakish experiment in self-mutilation and the next word is the equivalent of the next drop on your forehead a la water torture.

Let's revisit that bear analogy. It resonates with me at the moment, since my yard was recently invaded. I took the dogs out early one morning, it was pitch black and they FREAKED out, barking, snarling - and frankly, scaring the crap out of me. I managed to get them inside the house, though they fought against their leashes the whole way. When the sun came up, I found out why. A bear had busted down a section of our fence to access our overripe crab apples and ripped down several branches for easy munching. Here's a pic of the damage:

The bear came back a few nights later, so we eliminated the problem - shook all the apples down and got rid of them. We've since fixed the fence and all's well. But, being a paranormal fiction author, I had to question - since we never really saw the bear - what if this incident didn't have an easy, natural explanation? What if something paranormal was at work? What if, instead of a bear, our house (which backs onto miles of woods) was encroaching on the territory of some other creature? Something old, something evil? A starving thing, desperate and hungry?

Like I said, me and that bear have a lot in common. We're both hoarding up all the nutrients we can - only in my situation - it's writerly goodness. And from the bear came the the geniuses of my NANO project. A busted fence, branches down from a tree - with huge claw marks carving up the trunk - black oozy liquid on the frosted lawn, leaving a trail to the woods, and a frazled single parent who poopoos her imaginative teen-aged daughter's foreboding feeling away.

Then things get worse....much, much worse.

Good luck to all NANO participants - here's to hunting down a wicked plot and characters to DIE for!